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May 2022

Is there a crisis in golf greenkeeping? BIGGA launches major survey to find out more

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has launched an industry-wide survey that will quantify information relating to a perceived ‘crisis’ within the greenkeeping and wider golfing sector.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that golf clubs are struggling to fill available vacancies, particularly in the greenkeeping department. Reasons generally put forward for this include the requirement to work anti-social hours, lack of appreciation and a relatively low entry salary. However, for those who do embark upon a career in greenkeeping, the positives are many.

This survey is crucial as it is vital the scale of the challenge is quantified, as well as the key drivers for the issues. Effective golf club staff are critical to the health and growth of the sport as they strongly influence the experience of golfers on a day-to-day basis.

As BIGGA seeks to fulfil its overarching ambition of creating a more positive working environment for the UK’s greenkeepers, BIGGA hopes the hard data from the survey will enable the association to positively guide the broader golf industry.

Head greenkeepers, course managers and other members of the turf management team at golf clubs are invited to complete the survey. Only one response is required per golf club. The survey can be completed online at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2VZ52PH

BIGGA has requested the support of partner organisations with regards this research and will publish the results in full when the periods for submissions has closed.

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “With the ongoing cost of living crisis at the forefront of our minds and the COVID-19 pandemic having caused many people to consider their priorities, the golf industry faces a very real challenge to engage sufficient staff at club level, to effectively deliver the sport to the nation’s five million regular golfers. Participation in the sport is booming at just the time that recruiting and retaining greenkeeping staff is at its most challenging. It is vital the golf industry – utilising real data – considers positive solutions to the ongoing labour issues.

“We encourage all our members to respond to this survey, which we believe will benefit all greenkeepers and golf club staff.”

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Rain Bird Appoints Golf Sales Specialist for Spain and Portugal and Regional Sales Manager Southwest Europe

Two new recruits to Rain Bird Europe this spring are Julien Guigny (above) as Regional Sales Manager Southwest Europe and Daniel Sanchez (below) as Golf Sales Specialist Spain and Portugal.

Daniel Sanchez

Julien Guigny, MBA, has over fifteen years’ international sales and business development experience in industrial healthcare, pharmaceutical, aeronautical and energy markets across Southern Europe gained during a career at Sontara, Laboratoires Anios – Soluscope, and Berry Plastics Group. Living in France, he is an aviation enthusiast and also enjoys trail running, mountain biking, cycling and swimming.

Madrid-based Daniel Sanchez, a Bachelor of Electronic Communication, re-joins Rain Bird after the past five years at LogisticH2O where his focus was the effective installation and operation of Rain Bird irrigation system technology. Prior to this, he spent a decade as a Rain Bird field service engineer providing valuable technical support to customers and distributors.

Tina Baumgartner, Europe Sales Manager Golf at Rain Bird Europe comments: “Julian and Daniel are joining Rain Bird at an exciting time as technology is developing fast, helping our golf customers address the challenges of water management. They both have valuable customer service as well as varied technical expertise across many sectors and territories and we’re looking forward to welcoming them into the European team.”

Contact details:

Julien Guigny, Regional Sales Manager Southwest Europe

M + 33 60 87 69 789

jguigny@rainbird.eu

Daniel Sanchez, Golf Sales Specialist Spain and Portugal

M +34 67 85 59 656

dsanchez@rainbird.eu

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INTERNATIONAL GREENKEEPERS HAIL NEW LINKS COURSE AT LA HACIENDA DURING FEGGA CONFERENCE

Members of The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Association (FEGGA) travelled from 15 countries across the globe to check out the transformation of La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, formerly known as Alcaidesa, as part of its three-day annual conference.

FEGGA serves as the umbrella body for the national greenkeeping associations in Europe with its members and key partners gathering at La Hacienda to discuss key initiatives and challenges facing the industry, as well as learning about the multi-million investment project currently in progress at the 36-hole Spanish venue.

La Hacienda’s head greenkeeper, Raúl Tineo Brea, and course architect, Kurtis Bowman, discussed the exciting plans for the new Links Course, which has been completely reconfigured and redesigned, before attendees were able to enjoy a tour of the layout and signature holes.

As part of the conference, members also dined in Sal Verde, the recently-opened restaurant in La Hacienda’s renovated clubhouse.

Dean Cleaver, Executive Officer of FEGGA, said: “We’d like to thank La Hacienda for having us and for its exceptional hospitality.

“There’s no better compliment than from the experts of the industry and some of the best greenkeepers in Europe, and all of them had positive things to say about the facilities and new Links Course.

“We were all in agreement that it’s now going to be in the conversation for one of the best golf courses in Spain and has catapulted it into amongst Europe’s elite. We are still getting our breath back after seeing some of the stunning views over the ocean and Rock of Gibraltar!”

Located in the Cadiz municipality of San Roque, close to Sotogrande, the Links Course is scheduled to open in June 2022 and will run along the beachfront with spectacular views of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and Africa.

The contemporary clubhouse, driving range and practice area have already been completed ahead of the golf course reopening this summer, while the development of a five-star hotel with 150 rooms, halfway house with restaurant, 51 luxury villas and a beach club will mark the next phase of the project and La Hacienda’s elevation to a flagship venue and golf destination in Southern Europe.

FEGGA is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 1996 with a view of promoting the profession and helping greenkeepers through educational programmes and environmental policies, resulting in the highest standard of course conditions and professionalism across the continent.

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